Gardening for the beginner: 10 steps to get you gardening for life

Gardening for life

I’m guessing that if you are here you may be new to gardening.

If you are, then you are in exactly the right place, because this post on gardening for the beginner will point you to the knowledge you need for your gardening journey.

Maybe you have recently acquired a property with a garden for the first time. Or perhaps you can finally turn your attention to a garden after renovating a house.

Maybe your kids have grown and your garden has fairly suddenly gone from being a playground or a football pitch to a place of serenity that you actually enjoy being in.

Perhaps you’ve started thinking about ways you can improve your garden or about how it would be nice to have the kind of garden you see in magazines or on TV. Maybe you’ve begun to clear some space in overgrown garden beds and planted a few small plants.

I also suspect that you might be here because, out of almost nowhere, you have recently developed a kind of gnawing interest in all things gardening related.

Suddenly, you’ve start noticing every garden you pass. You keep finding yourself wondering what this plant is called or whether that plant would grown in your garden.

You’re watching the gardening shows on TV.

Maybe you’ve found yourself discussing gardens for the first time with a friend and you found out, something you didn’t previously know, that she is an avid gardener.

If any of these situations describe you, then it looks like you may have been, or are about to be, bitten by the gardening bug.

And if you have, then you’re very lucky, because the gardening bug, along with a few notable allies like the ladybird and the lacewing, is what gardeners call a beneficial insect.

It is good for your garden and, in turn, it is good for you.

A gardening education

Gardening is a broad topic, covering everything from growing a moss garden to planting a wood, from raising seeds to designing a whole new outdoor vista.

It involves interacting with and gaining an appreciation of the earth and its soil, with the trees and plants growing in the soil, with the insects and animals in and around those trees and plants and with the climate and weather that all those things are exposed to.

It is a rich and ever changing subject with a history dating back for centuries and with a culture and language all of its own.

But the beauty of gardening is that despite all that scale and depth, all you really need to start gardening is a seed and maybe a yoghurt pot with some soil in it.

When you become a little more adventurous, maybe all you’ll need is a packet of seeds and a patch of soil.

As you develop, you might acquire a trowel and a watering can and you might pay a few dollars or pounds for some plants.

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All the while you can learn a little bit more and try your hand at new gardening tasks and techniques.

Who knows, you might win medals at your local garden club or win a gold at the Chelsea Flower Show.

If you are anything like me, you’ll end up with a shed full of tools and be a favoured customer at your local nursery as you hunt down ever more exciting and unusual plants.

Much more importantly, as you continue gardening you’ll find that you have developed some gardening skills and an interest that will sustain you throughout your life.

Gardening will bring you into contact with like minded people, it will keep you fit and healthy and provide you with endless moments of satisfaction and a feeling of work well done.

And this applies whether your main interest is in growing fruit and vegetables, in developing a whole new ornamental garden or in raising plants of one particular species that you fall in love with.

A garden is never finished and the path to horticultural knowledge never ends. That is why a garden and gardening can sustain you for the fullest length of your life.

Key knowledge on gardening for the beginner

Here are some of the key knowledge posts on Gardening Step by Step for the new gardener:

Deadheading flowers: how to do it and why

What is deadheading and why do it? Deadheading flowers is simply the process of removing the spent blooms from your plants. You should typically deadhead as the bloom fades and begins to lose its petals. There are two main reasons for deadheading your flowers. Firstly, deadheading encourages your plant to produce more flowers. Secondly, deadheading …

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Plant hardiness zones and plant hardiness in the USA and UK

Plant hardiness Plant hardiness can be described as follows: Assuming the right amounts of nutrients, light and water the survival of a plant in a particular location is determined by the lowest temperatures it will have to withstand. We therefore say that a plant that can withstand the temperature extremes in a particular place is …

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Lawn care tips: how to take care of your lawn

Lawn care is one of those gardening tasks that can take you as much or as little time as you are willing to give it. Once you know how to take care of your lawn – which this article will show you – you can take these lawn care tips and tailor them to the …

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Removing weeds: the complete guide

Organic weed removal principles As we’ve covered in the other parts of this series, weeds are super-plants that have found ways to dominate their environment and continue their presence in it over time. Thus, weeds develop roots systems that are hard to eradicate and from which new plants can spring up, they grow and set …

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How weeds grow and thrive in our gardens

In this post in this series on weed control, I cover not just how weeds grow, but how they survive and thrive in the battleground of our gardens. Ultimately, I’ll look in detail at some of the ways we can prevent weeds from causing us problems and at how we can deal with problem weeds …

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How do plants grow? Photosynthesis and the parts of plants

This post answers the critical question: how do plants grow? We also cover the different parts of plants. We explain how those parts contribute to plant growth and why all of this matters to the gardener. For most people gardening is about plants. Admittedly, features like paths, walls, fences and decks play part in creating …

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Soil texture analysis: what kind of soil do you have?

It is important to carry out a soil texture analysis for any garden that you want to plant in. This is one of the first things I do in any garden I get my hands on – and I have moved home plenty of times over the years, so there have been quite a few …

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Soil texture: digging deeper into the soil in your garden

It’s hard to overstate how important it is for gardeners to understand the soil in their garden. The soil dictates the kind of plants that you can grow and has a huge bearing on how well your plants will grow once you have selected them. As indicated in our introduction to garden soil, perhaps the …

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Garden soil: a gardener’s guide

For a gardener, the garden soil is probably the single most important thing in your garden. Everything good in the garden comes from the soil, so it’s important for gardeners, especially new gardeners, to understand their soil – we need to know the characteristics of the soil we have and we need to know how …

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garden bed
Love Dahlias?I've written the book on them

Check out my comprehensive step by step guide, with plain language explanations and ultra-useful images and illustrations. This is for you if you love dahlias and want to the best out of the dahlias you grow.

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